Boris Johnson has admitted it was a "mistake" to appoint Chris Pincher to his Government.
In a public statement, the Prime Minister spoke about being made aware of the concerns relating to Chris Pincher in late 2019.
The Prime Minister said: “I apologise to everybody who has been badly affected by it. I want to make absolutely clear that there’s no place in this Government for anybody who is predatory or who abuses their position of power.”
Speaking to reporters in his Commons office he did not deny joking: “Pincher by name, Pincher by nature”.
Boris Johnson denied lying to aides about his knowledge of allegations against Chris Pincher. Image: PA
He said: “What I can tell you is that, if I look at the background of this and why I regret it so much, is that about three years ago there was a complaint made against Chris Pincher in the Foreign Office, the complaint was cleared up, he apologised.
Chris Pincher had the Tory whip removed over sexual misconduct allegations. UK Parliament
“It was raised with me, orally, I was briefed on what had happened. If I had my time again I would think back on it and recognise that he wasn’t going to learn a lesson and he wasn’t going to change and I regret that.”
The Prime Minister denied lying to aides about his knowledge of allegations against Chris Pincher.
No 10 spokespeople and ministers have given a series of differing explanations about what Mr Johnson’s knowledge of the situation had been.
Asked if he lied to them, Mr Johnson said: “No and let me explain what happened. We are talking about a series of appointments over seven years.
“Chris Pincher came into government as deputy chief whip before I became Prime Minister, he was move to the Foreign Office, he then went on to be a minister for housing and we then moved him back to be deputy chief whip.
“About two and a half years ago I got this complaint, it was something that was only raised with me very cursorily but I wish that we had, I in particular, had acted on it and that he had not continued in government because he then went on, I’m afraid, to behave, as far as we can see, according to the allegations that we have, very, very badly.
“I’m sorry for those who have been badly affected by it.”